Wednesday, January 11, 2017

God Class Creations

Gen 1:27-28 NKJV - So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

God created man to be in His image unlike anything else He created. Everything else was simply brought into existence by the Word of God spoken, but God took dust from the earth and His own breath to make us like Him. This way we could relate to him and not just be another animal He created.

Having this spirit within us causes urgings to be connected with Him. However, with our free will and emotions, we will miss this point until we learn about who God really is. We run after all sorts of worldly things that aren’t bad, but turn that way when we use them to fill the void that only God can. We don’t feel capable of being the God class creation we were meant to be. We flounder for the answers with no success without His help.

This is why our awesome and relational God sent Jesus to die for our sins and give us the opportunity to accept this awesome gift and be reconciled to God. He chose us before He even created anything.

1 Peter 2:9-10 NKJV - But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Jesus is calling us. Without Him we are lost in the dark and homeless. We are outside the family of God where He intended us to be. Once we truly accept Jesus, this realization will change our lives. We’ll let Him lead the way and the transformation with astound friends and family. Some will be happy for you, some will be indifferent, and some will hate you. I’ve experienced all three.

My life is not easier now. Actually, I have had far more trials, disappointments and failures since becoming a Christian than before. However, I have hope that all is working out as God planned. I am enjoying life even in the bad circumstances because I am part of the royal family. I accepted God’s gift and was adopted into his family. I would never go back to where I was. Life may have seemed easier looking back on it, but I was more frustrated with it than with any trial I faced with Jesus Christ. Life with Him is a journey of both hard and easy seasons, but the end will be marvelous if we stay on His path. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

God With Us

Matt 1:18-25 NKJV - Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins."

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

The words in verse 23 echo what was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 several hundred years before Jesus was born. Everything about the birth of Jesus had to fulfill the prophecies because God is never a liar and never will be.

The Jews were already looking for the Messiah. They knew he was coming and would be their king. However, they were thinking he would come and sit on a worldly throne. They did not even expect him to come as a baby despite this prophecy. The human mind would never make up a story like this. It was God who totally did it as He said, but still blew humanity’s mind when it happened.

It takes faith to conceive such an idea as this. We use faith all the time in life. Your faith is in what you believe is the truth. Most humans will not act against what they believe in and they will die for it if they truly believe it is a deep rooted truth. We can be totally wrong about our truth though if only conceived of the human mind. If it comes from God, we can stake a real claim in what He says.

We celebrate Christmas every year because the hope of the world being reconciled with God was born to us as the baby Jesus. He was also called Immanuel, God with us. This baby did not grow up being some great looking and charismatic person. He was like everyone else. He left all the glory he had as the Word of God in heaven, but still had God with Him. Thanks to His coming and, more importantly, His sacrifice on the cross for all our sins, we all can have God with us every day.

As I stated in my post of Once Upon A Time …, God thought outside the box because that is where He is. He had everything figured out and still made the world. He sent Jesus, His Son, and also God, to be with us and show us who God the Father really was. He came to show us what real relationship is and how we could be joined in relationship with God.

Jesus is the glorified and terrifying answer to everything. He may have left His glory in heaven as he walked amongst us, but gave us the Good News and showed us God’s glory by properly representing the Father in Heaven. But since all came from Him and is for Him, we owe everything to Him. As a person of the relational Godhead, He has a claim on us.

I have accepted this claim by Him on my life and found life far more exciting while also seeing far more trials at the same time. I encourage you today to really think about Him and all that He has done for you. Life has been far more joyful for me now that I have God with me.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Once Upon A Time....

This little story was shared on my Facebook in the middle of December based on a sermon pastor did and the fact I was thinking about half my adult life was done without Christ and the latter was. In February it will be fifteen years, since I started this journey and it keeps on going. I've had more trials with Christ than without, but because of Him life is so much better even if circumstances want to say otherwise. 

Once upon a time there was a God who decided to make a fantastically huge universe that had set physical characteristics of still being finite due to restrictions by time, matter and space though He made it out of nothing. Into this great creation He made man of free will, to do as they pleased, but inspired them to have a relationship with Him. However, they did what they pleased and ruined the relationship.
He gave them a Law so they would know good and evil, so they would understand morality and righteousness, but it did not contain the power to close the gulf.
He loved them so much that He already had a plan in place knowing this would happen. He would do something that did not fit in 'their box', something that would totally go against worldly thinking. He sent the same Word, the power, that made the universe out of nothing to be born as a baby. Not to be born in a warm place or a hospital, but a manger with all the animals.
And when he was a man and set upon his mission, he did not take of an earthly throne. No! He took on all sin, hurts and whatever other icky name you want to give it that man had caused by breaking his relationship with God. Due to carrying this great burden to his death, even God had to look away so that the ultimate sacrifice felt the true pain of how God felt in His deepest love.
But due to this great sacrifice that had to come from outside the "box", the way back to God was opened. The access to the power to once again live as He wanted us to has come into a fallen world.
As I stated earlier this week, I spent half of my adult life without Jesus and half of it with. Even if my greatest trials have come while following Jesus, they have been the greatest years. I'm not alone trying to do this with my own power. I have a relationship with God, my power source, and nothing will change my mind.

Please think outside the "box" and realize how many things we really do take on blind faith. Let's see what really makes the most sense in the end when not based on only what we can detect with our five senses. It is sure to blow your mind as much as it did mind! It's like the brightest of light bulbs got turned on and keeps getting cranked up impossibly brighter as I dig deeper and deeper into this great mystery that is a loving God, who is also one of great righteousness and will have to judge us a final time at some point.

Life is a Glorious Trial

It's been a few months since I posted. I've had too many ideas sometimes and other times none at all. I finished a huge overhaul edit on a novel in time to deal with some other changes in life.

The awesome thing with life is that I see trials as opportunities now. I see them as God's work. Changing doctors let them find something my husband needed fixed by surgery before things went bad. Trying to find the right way to publish my completed novel has made me really think about it and why God would want me to publish it. I definitely am not motivated in what I do for money or fame. That would take the fun out of it. And without these trials that make us have to pause or even take a detour, what would I learn to add to my writing and understanding of life? What would I learn about God if not for the bumps in the road?

It's my wish that, even if I'm not regular, that everything I have written here and what comes in the future will inspire you to think about life and how God is so involved with it. May your Christmas have been bright and cheery and may your New Year shine with refreshed hope and anticipation.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Follow and Emulate the Shepherd

John 10:27 NKJV - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

In Jesus’ day most people easily understood the role of a shepherd with their sheep. In today’s world where most of us live in cities and bustle to and from work, school, and errands, we may not even think about farm animals and how that life really is. However, we have stories that help us understand and I have a couple from people I know who herd sheep.

The best news is the Shepherd knows His sheep. Jesus knows you inside and out. He knows what it will take for us to learn the right way to follow Him. He will not lead us astray and will be right there when we get lost.

Any good shepherd will have sheep that quickly learn he is there to protect them and help them. They will answer when they hear him and follow accordingly. However, they will not always do this correctly or as assuredly if the circumstances make things rough. For example, one shepherd had her sheep get stuck out in the field due to a freak snowstorm. They would not come down the field towards her so she trekked up to them. The more trusting of the herd started moving towards her before she got to them and then the rest fell into line. They went single file across the field in her path.

We are like the sheep and are at different levels of understanding and trust with God. There is nothing wrong with this because we all started out from the beginning. Some of us will be more willing to step out in the midst of turmoil towards the shepherd than others will. Peter was the only one that climbed out of the boat to walk on the water during a storm since Jesus said to come.

In following we learn how to emulate the shepherd. As our trust in Him grows, so does our willingness to try new things he reveals.

One of the shepherds I know was shocked to find her sheep emulating her one day. She plucks up milkweed she finds in the pasture so it won’t go to seed and take over. Sheep know not to eat it and will graze around it. On this one particular day she realized the sheep were following her around the field. As she watched they were biting off the milkweed and dropping it on the ground like she had been doing.

We should be like these sheep and doing our best to emulate our Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We should be like David, who was the shepherd of his father’s sheep growing up. Psalm 23, written by David, starts with, “The Lord is my shepherd…” He knew to trust God even when he went astray and came back due to correction.

Who is your shepherd? If Jesus is your shepherd, do you trust Him enough to follow through anything?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pride Promotes Strife

James 4:1-6 NKJV
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?

6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

"God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble."  

Pride makes us want to promote ourselves rather than God. This causes fights even among Christians when we put our desires first. We get aggressive in what we want and are not happy until we have it. This is not the way we get what we truly need.

We get what God knows is best if we pray to Him. Do not do it to get what you want. God might have a better idea. Our motives should align with his when we ask and He will give us what we truly need. He will even tell you if you are not getting it or if something better is coming if we have some patience. There is nothing wrong with wanting things, but make sure your desires are not for self-gratification or for appearances.

The best way to curb the evil desires that occur due to pride is to learn humility. Pride makes us self-centered while humility can allow us to be other-centered. When we are humble God can then work wonders through us that can help many and He does reward us for doing so. We won’t need the latest and greatest car, gadget, whatever, but will want to spread the Good News and help others instead.

Which would you prefer to step into the future as: the prideful, selfish you that can so easily blow up when things go wrong and you don’t get what you want? Or the one who has God on their side and find even greater fulfillment doing as God wants with all your needs met? I’ve been on both sides of this and I’ll stick to doing it God’s way.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Signs of the Times

Before reading further, I would like you to stop and pray for anyone suffering from loss and injury due to the recent brutality of shootings, wars and other tribulations caused by hate.

Now read and ponder what Jesus told his disciples when they asked about his return, what many now call the Second Coming.

Matt 24:4-14 NKJV

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.  5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.  6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.  10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 

We have had wars and murders since man’s fall and removal from the Garden of Eden. We can’t blame it on the tool used to commit the crime. It can’t move unless a human uses it and then it will do exactly what the human decides. We can blame it on man’s selfishness and lawlessness. Our desire for the individual rights over all else and then segregating by color, race, creed, financial station, etc. has us in a broken state of affairs. Even in the church we have groups saying their way is the right way and everyone else is wrong. There is a cacophony of voices out there wanting our attention and many are just giving us feel good about yourself lip service.

We have entered the age of false prophets and loose morals. This leads to a very destructive disease, the loss of love for God and others. We must be first and then we bother with others. When things don’t go our way we want to blame someone and find some way to protest the outrage. We think we are entitled to having it and doing it our way. This is no way of showing love. You cannot show love to others if you are only thinking of yourself.

I have a great many friends and family who are not living as Jesus says. Many who are not sure they want to know Him because of all the false prophets out there. I don’t blame them because at one point I was in their shoes. However, once I understood who Jesus really was and accepted Him, I was finally free to be myself and learned to love despite the differences. I have people telling me I’m a Christian that they will listen to even if they don’t agree. Maybe it’s because when I wasn’t a Christian, the ones I did listen to showed me love and did not make me feel Bible thumped. They loved me anyway and still were able to tell me about Jesus. When I accepted Him, they were the ones I ran to for a church. They were the ones I stuck with when their actions and words kept lining up with the Bible and if they did not they had the guts to admit they made a mistake.

What voices are you listening to today? Have you set your goals so they are all about you or are they about helping others? Are you immediately retaliating due to some wrong done to you no matter how big or small? Or are you showing love that can convince people to be better? Are you helping spread the hate mongering and finger pointing that tears us apart or are you breaking the cycle? 

I pray that you chose Jesus and endure with Him to the end no matter what comes your way. God’s Word should be our weapon to change the world.